Examine the Conditions That Led to the Rise of a Single-Party State Under Mao Zedong.

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Victor Heaulme
IB History SL
28/02/12

EXAMINE THE CONDITIONS THAT LED TO THE RISE OF A SINGLE-PARTY STATE UNDER MAO ZEDONG.

“In October 1949 Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China” (IB Packet, 60). This date marked the official beginning of the CCP’s (Chinese Communist Party) rule under a single party rule. However, one question remains: what exactly were the prominent conditions that led to this rise of the CCP under Mao Zedong? Although one could easily isolate several specific variables that aided the parties rise, such as the failure of the GMD (Nationalist Party) or even The May 4th Movement, one must look at it more broadly to understand the bigger picture of the circumstances. When looking at this bigger picture, one can identify many key conditions under the political, social and economic aspects of the circumstances.

Political may perhaps be the most abundant area of conditions for this particular analysis, as it contains the most aspects and conditions, and can be analyzed through a sort of timeline or chain of events. For example, one of the aspects prior even to the rivalry between the CCP and the GMD was the weakness of the previous government. Two examples can be seen here, both when the government failed to address the poverty and situation of the peasants (the huge lower class) as well as when the “Imperial government in China… introduced a series of reforms…but they wielded too little political power” (IB Packet, 62). This goes to show the downfall of the previous government, which then lead to the 1911 Revolution. This revolution, also called the “Revolution of the Double Tenth,” was caused mainly by the scholar’s disappointment in the failed reforms, the “severe flooding and harvest failure in the south” (IB Packet, 62) and just general revolutionary conspiracy by the army. In 1912, this resulted in Dr. Sun Yatsen’s ruling of the newly created Republic of China. “On December 25, Dr. Sun was elected the provisional president of the Republic of China” (Leung, 52). The “Warlord Era”, in turn, followed this, between 1916-1927. Yuan Shikai became president after Dr. Sun resigned, only to die 4 years later (1912-1916 was his rule), and “After Yuan died, the nation disintegrated into warlord groups and territories” (Leung, 59). During this time period is when the May Fourth Movement emerged, where 5000 students “held a huge demonstration against the decision… to accept Japanese control of the former German concessions…” (Leung, 65). This movement was a huge success in that gradually, people no longer bought Japanese goods, Cao Rulin resigned, and no Chinese representatives signed the Treaty of Versailles. According to Chinese today’s historians, the movement was a “turning point between the modern and contemporary history of their country” (Leung, 67). Again during the Warlord Era was the “First United Front”, during which the GMD and the CCP fought together against the Japanese invader, only to see Chiang Kaishek (leader of GMD) “order a massacre of thousands of CCP members” (IB Packet, 64) in 1927. This was during the “White Terror.” Next came the “Nanjing Decade”, during 1927-1937, during which many GMD weaknesses were apparent, notably its failure to unite China’s 400 million people, the failure to successfully defend against the Japanese invasions and the fact that it had not been able to defeat warlordism. More importantly, the GMD’s biggest weakness was that “Chiang failed to destroy the CCP” (IB Packet, 66). This means that during the White Terror, Kaishek failed to successfully “eliminate the opposition.” These weaknesses were only exacerbated during the Japanese War of 1937-1945, since “the Japanese invasion of China and the circumstances of World War II were very important factors leading to Communist victory” (Lawrence, 8). During this time period, the GMD lost most of its elite troops, ignored the huge population of peasantry, and saw its corruption go...
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